Computers are now part of everyday life and, for most of us, technology is essential to our lives, at home and at work. ‘Computational thinking’ is a skill that all pupils must learn if they are to be ready for the workplace and able to participate effectively in the digital world.
The new National Curriculum for computing has been developed to equip young people in England with the foundational skills, knowledge, and understanding of computing they will need for the rest of their lives.
Through the new programme of study for computing they will learn how computers and computer systems work, they will design and build programs, they will develop their ideas using technology, and create a range of digital content.
Intro to School Systems
Students will be set up with their school accounts and introduced to how to use digital devices in lessons and around the school.
Intro to Programming using Scratch
This unit of work teaches an introduction to programming using the Scratch programming language. Students will be introduced to programming inputs, variable storage, outputs, sequencing and selection.
Intro to Computer Hardware
This unit is designed to teach students what a computer system is, the various components of a computer system and their purpose. Students will also learn about the purpose of the CPU, RAM, Hard Drive and I/O devices and how they all work together, including the function of the CPU, including the fetch, decode, execute cycle.
Intro to HTML and Websites
This unit teaches the basics of HTML, enabling students to create a mini website. Students learn how to add text, images and hyperlinks, plus formatting techniques including fonts, text size and alignment.
Intro to Office
This unit gives students a foundation in using Office applications to create a series of documents for different scenarios found in business such as letters, spreadsheets, presentations, and publications.
Intro to Staying Safe Online
Introduces students to the threats they may encounter using digital technology and how to combat them. Covers cyber-bullying, viruses and malware, the advantages and disadvantages of smartphones and social media.
Intro to Programming using Micro:Bits
This unit introduces students to the Micro:Bit device and teaches them how to program a variety of applications including a digital dice, digital compass and games console (pong). The unit uses both the ‘Blocks’ and ‘Python’ programming language.
The Digital World
In this unit of work, students will learn how to use the internet safely and effectively. They will learn about copyright law, search engines (including the use of Boolean logic for effective searching) and they will also recap about the dangers of the internet and ways to combat these dangers.
Binary Bits and Bobs
This module introduces students to the binary number system, converting between binary and denary and simple binary addition. Students will also be taught how (and why) characters, images and sound are represented by the binary system.
Intro to Programming using Python
In this unit, students will be introduced to programming in the Python programming language. They will learn how to print messages to the screen, ask the user to input data, and how to store this data in variables. They will also understand how computers make decisions, and consequently learn how to program IF statements.
HTML and CSS
Students will be reminded of some basic HTML syntax (as covered in the year 7 unit) and will be introduced to CSS so that they can understand how to better present their webpages. They will learn how to add gradient backgrounds, add page borders, curve images and reorganise content on the page with the help of DIV tags.
Intro to Graphic and Logo Design
Students will get to explore their creative side and be introduced to image editing software that allows them to go beyond what is possible with an Instagram filter. Students will learn the principles of good graphic design, use of fonts, and how to create high quality artwork.
More Python Programming
Students will reinforce their understanding of inputs, outputs, variables and selection through the means of a variety of programming challenges. Students will also be taught the programming structure of iteration. They will learn how FOR and WHILE loops work and will code these structures in a range of programs.
The Digital World Recap
An annual recap about the dangers of the internet and ways to combat these dangers.
History of Computing
This unit takes a look back in time at the history of computers, focusing on some key computer scientists including George Boole, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, Katherine Johnson, Alan Turing, and others. In each lesson, students will not only learn what these great scientists achieved, but they will also ‘practice’ their science / innovations through a range of class activities.
How Networks Work
Students will be introduced to Local Area Networks (LANS), the hardware of a local network, the workings of the Internet, how the WWW and Internet differ and how data travels around a network.
Video Editing and Creation
Students will work in groups to plan and script a short video for a defined audience, then film it, edit it, and export it in a format fit to be viewed online.
Depending on their options chosen, students will take a short project to prepare them for either GCSE Computer Science or the IT Technical Award. If a student hasn’t picked either subject, they’ll go through a series of computer and office skills designed to help them in their future studies.
Students will complete a baseline assessment at the beginning of each year and then receive both a formative assessment at the beginning and summative assessment at the end of each module to measure their progress.
Students do not receive homework in Computing at Key Stage 3.
Students have two Computing-related options at Key Stage 4; Computer Science and the ITQ.
Computer Science is the more technical of the two and is suitable for students who have performed well in programming and problem solving related modules during Key Stage 3. It is recommended that only students who are targeted a B or above in Maths choose this course.
ITQ is a GCSE equivalent which is more suitable for those who are looking for a more general look at computer use in the workplace.
GCSE Computer Science
Students are expected to develop a set of computational thinking skills that enable them to understand how computer systems work, and design, implement and analyse algorithms for solving problems. Students are given repeated opportunities to tackle computational problems of various sorts, including some substantial problem-solving tasks.
Students should be competent at designing, reading, writing and debugging programs. They must be able to apply their skills to solve real problems and produce robust programs. Students will be given repeated opportunities to develop and practise their programming skills.
Computers can store and manipulate large quantities of data. They use binary to represent different types of data. Students are expected to learn how different types of data are represented in a computer.
Students must be familiar with the hardware and software components that make up a computer system and recognise that computers take many forms from embedded microprocessors to distributed clouds.
Communication and the Internet
Computer networks and the internet are now ubiquitous. Many computer applications in use today would not be possible without networks. Students should understand the key principles behind the organisation of computer networks. Ideally, they should be able to experiment by setting up a simple network.
The Bigger Picture
Students should be aware of the influence of computing technology and recognise that computing has an impact on nearly every aspect of the world in which they live.
Awarding Body: Edexcel
Component 1: Principles of Computer Science (Paper code: 1CP1/01)
Written examination: 1 hour and 40 minutes
40% of the qualification – 80 marks
This paper consists of multiple-choice, short open response, open response and extended open response answer questions.
Component 2: Application of Computational Thinking (Paper code: 1CP1/02)
Written examination: 2 hours
40% of the qualification – 80 marks
This paper is based on a scenario. It consists of short open response, open response and extended open-response answer questions.
Component 3: Project (Paper code: 1CP1/3A-3E)
Non-examined assessment: 20 hours
20% of the qualification – 60 marks
Students will design, write, test and refine a computer program based on a scenario.
The ITQ course can cover a wide range of modules depending on student preference and is entirely coursework based. Each student must complete three modules to complete the basic qualification, or five modules to complete the extended qualification.
The options available are:
- Integrated e-Document Production
- Manipulating Spreadsheets and Graphs
- Creating and Using a Database
- e-Publication Design
- Designing an e-Presentation
- e-Image Manipulation
- Internet Safety
- Using Mobile Devices
- Using Email
- Using the Internet
Homework and School-based Assessments
Students will receive weekly homework consisting of exam style questions related to content studied that week. Students will also be assessed on their comprehension every half term in exam conditions and receive a grade per module.
Computer Science GCSE supports further study in Computer Science A‐Level or vocational equivalents. Students can then progress to courses at university such as systems engineering, software engineering and artificial intelligence.
Career prospects in the computing industry are wide-ranging. In addition to those who aspire to work in the computer industry, there are many others who may choose Computer Science. Study of the subject supports progress in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It develops transferable skills, particularly logical thinking and problem solving.
Mr M Corker
Teacher of IT and Computer Science (KS2-KS4)